by Tia

GVK-Siya Zama has worked around the clock to complete the redevelopment of Cape Station into a mixed-use residential and retail space. This is despite experiencing one of Cape Town’s wettest winters in 10 years last year, which threatened to derail the process. 

One of the company’s largest projects to date, by value – and its largest in the Western Cape – the development has opened a direct corridor between Strand Street and the Cape Town railway station. It boasts an unrestricted and pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare through a ‘grand entrance’ galleria.

Aligned with similar projects in European cities where less desirable spaces are being transformed into sought-after residential and retail offerings, the 77,000m2 redevelopment incorporates a 20-storey, 3 000-bed purpose-built student accommodation facility, 6 700m2 of retail space and a new world-class public square. 

GVK-Siya Zama’s Managing Director of its Cape business unit, Chris Maughan, says the purpose was to introduce student accommodation in a transport node that could service both UCT, CPUT and other significant tertiary educational campuses.

“The project had to be complete in time for the 2024 student intake. The 20-storey building required hoisting of some 9 000 000 bricks, which meant many extra hours of crane hook time and additional protection and resources while navigating adverse weather conditions.”

The team was also challenged to use budget-conscious products and deliver them in upmarket fashion. “Many elements had an industrial look and feel. We had to find ways to retain the architectural features without making the development feel too basic,” adds Maughan. Due to the size of the project, financial consideration played a critical role in product selection, and it became increasingly challenging to ensure that cost effective products did not distract from aesthetic goals and the envisioned design.

With student safety and wellbeing as primary focus, the development includes several study hubs, seven-a-side football fields on the fourth floor of the building and cinema and relaxation areas to create a safe, enjoyable and practical living space.

Maughan says the building boasts solar and energy efficient appliances including many safety features, specifically related to fire compliance.  “Due the large number of students to be housed in the building, it was essential that control measures were put in place to monitor water and electrical usage alongside an efficient, centralised water heating solution.”

He says GVK-Siya Zama is delighted with the outcome of the project. “It showcases our ability to work on large, complex projects within tight budget and time constraints.  We also believe our success is due to our ability to attract the best people in the industry and create a work environment that is supportive and friendly.” Cape Station stands testament to a visionary team committed to delivery of this fine development. 

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